The cost of home care can be expensive, but it’s important to consider the total costs involved – not just the hourly caregiver wages you’re paying. Agencies incur many direct and indirect expenses that you may not think of, such as advertising, background checks and paid training. Additionally, agencies are bonded, insured and cover their employees with worker’s compensation, all of which play into their rates.
In addition to screening and matching clients with their favored caregivers, agencies also manage the administrative side of things such as payroll, workers’ comp, scheduling, orientation, employee and client records and client billing. This saves families a lot of time and stress. Additionally, because caregivers work in an industry that is high on physical injuries, having someone who takes responsibility for the caregiver’s workers’ compensation insurance can be a huge relief.
Another cost-saving benefit of using a caregivers agency is the peace of mind in knowing that anyone hired to care for your loved one has been thoroughly vetted and has undergone extensive criminal background and reference checks. This gives the family a little extra security, especially if the aging parent is vulnerable or has specific health conditions.
While it’s possible to find a caregiver independently, this is typically more costly. In addition to finding and vetting candidates, you have to pay for background checks, interviewing, and training. Additionally, if you’re working with a private caregiver or an independent contractor, you’ll need to have back-up plans in case they cancel or don’t show up for their shift. Agencies usually have backup plans and will provide a replacement at no additional charge.
Gaby Sherman, owner of Arosa Boston, a Massachusetts-based caregivers agency, is aware that it’s a competitive market out there for caregivers and is always looking for ways to improve her employer brand. In addition to paying their staff competitively, she rewards them with a referral bonus if they leave a positive Google review for the company. She also encourages them to add detail in their reviews to show the personal connection they’ve made with the agency.
Ultimately, whether you choose to use a caregivers agency or hire a private caregiver, the decision will come down to how much value you place on the intangible benefits they offer like expertise, peace of mind and stress reduction. In addition, you have to weigh the costs versus the hourly rate of the caregiver, which can be a big factor in your decision. It’s a good idea to get a detailed breakdown of the fees and charges from each option so you can make an educated choice.